Here’s Something I Like (Not that Anyone Asked): Breakfast Smoothies

Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!

Me enjoying my breakfast from a weird angle because it’s the only way I could avoid glasses glare but now I realize the glare just moved to my forehead instead. Whoops!

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I think every meal is the most important meal of the day, including breakfast. So…I guess I agree lol. Way to be a contrarian, Mary!

As a creature of habit who started dieting at age 7, I’ve gone through a lot of different breakfast phases. As a kid, I ate a lot of cereal. As an older kid, I drank SlimFast (my brother got really into Carnatian Insant Breakfast, then discovered that SlimFast actually tastes better). Hey, it was the ’90s, a time when everyone thought fat was the devil and liquid aspartame was a healthy breakfast for a 5th grader.

When I was 14, I started Weight Watchers. I had been overweight my entire life, and though I’d slimmed down due to a growth spurt (a whopping two inches!) the year before, I was a teenage girl and therefore wanted to disappear but in like, a hot way. Through high school, I’d alternate between eating egg whites and Kashi cereal for breakfast, meticulously calculating my points in the hopes I’d one day be able to fit into an Abercrombie size 4.

In college, I eased up a little on my points obsession, but not on my diet. I’d normally eat yogurt and carefully measured granola for breakfast, then as little as humanly possible for the rest of the day, except on my designated cheat day, when I’d eat until I felt sick. You may call it an eating disorder, but at the time I called it eating more than all my friends. Now they had eating disorders. In fact, almost every female friend I’ve ever had has at some point fallen into a pattern of disordered eating. Unfortunately it’s just a phase we all go through, like wearing thongs or pretending to enjoy watching guys play video games.

After college, I finally got slightly less crazy about my diet (or, in other words, realized part of being a functional adult was not having a fucking eating disorder), but remained a creature of habit. I ate Fage 2% Greek Yogurt with either dried fruit or honey for years — until I tried a new diet that changed everything.

Before I get into it, I’d like to clarify that I am not a proponent of fad diets, or diets of any kind. In my experience, the less I obsess about food, the healthier I eat, the better I feel and, least importantly, the thinner I am. About six years ago, however, I tried a fad diet that changed not only how I eat but, after over a decade of seeing food only in terms of Weight Watchers points, how I think about food. That diet was the Whole 30.

I’m not saying you should do the Whole 30 — it’s at best annoying and at worst crazy! If you aren’t familiar, it’s a diet where you basically eat Paleo for 30 days. That means no sugar, no alcohol, no dairy and no grains for 30 whole days. When I did it, I didn’t follow it exactly because it seemed…dumb. Why should I eat like a caveman when I’m a modern woman? You’re not supposed to eat legumes while on the diet but I love beans and they’re healthy, so I ate them along with limited grains like quinoa and brown rice. I also drank about once a week because I’m not a fucking saint, OK?

The benefit of doing the Whole 30 was that it forced me to change my routine and cook new things. For example, I hadn’t eaten eggs with yolks in years and guess what? Real eggs are fucking GOOD, dude! After years of eating strange and questionably healthy meat substitute products, I started eating more fish and meat and cooking things like sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables. And most mornings, I started making smoothies.

Not all smoothies are created equal. Jamba Juice, for example, is full of sugar, which is why I rarely buy smoothies in the wild. Instead, I make them at home every morning. I make a few different kinds, but I always use almond milk as a base, add some nut butter for protein and use bananas and dates to sweeten. Here are my three favorite smoothie recipes, if you give a shit. I won’t include instructions because basically you just throw it all in a blender and let it rip. You may want to add ice, depending on how thick you like your smoothies (you know I like them thick, girl).

Here are all the ingredients for a kale-blueberry smoothie! Some of them, like dates, may seem expensive, but one little box will last for at least a month.

Kale-Blueberry Smoothie
1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk (preferably Vanilla)
1 T Ground Flax Seed
1 T Almond Butter (I like the pure kind, without palm oil or any shit like that, but I buy roasted instead of raw because I’m not an heiress)
1/2 Medjool Date
2 Kale Leaves (I remove the stems but you do you)
1 Frozen Banana
1/4 C Frozen Coconut Milk
1/4–1/2 C Frozen Blueberries

Kale Smoothie
1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 T Ground Flax Seed
1 T Almond Butter
1 Medjool Date
2 Kale Leaves
1 Frozen Banana
1/4 C Frozen Coconut Milk
A Dash of Cinnamon (trust me on this)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 T Ground Flax Seed
1 T Peanut Butter (I like the pure kind, just peanuts and salt)
1/2 T Raw Cacao Nibs
1/2 Medjool Date
1 Frozen Banana
1/4 C Frozen Coconut Milk

Just throw it all in and blend away!

So anyway, that’s the answer to the question literally no one has ever asked me: what do you usually have for breakfast, Mary? I think the reason I love a breakfast smoothie is that they’re light enough so I can work out immediately after drinking one, but substantial enough that I don’t get hungry for several hours. Smoothies require a little planning, since you have to freeze bananas and coconut milk ahead of time, but they take almost no time to throw together in the morning.

Looks kind of gross but tastes good, I swear!

I’m not sure if I lost any weight on the Whole 30, but by the end of it I felt really good, and since then I haven’t struggled with my weight at all. It truly changed the way I eat, weaning me off the weird diet foods I’d started eating during my Weight Watchers days (I used to eat fat-free cheese! What even is that? But hey, it was like one point.) and helping me to realize that real food is actually like, good for you. When I was in high school, my parents would often be eating my mom’s amazing spaghetti and meatballs while I dined on plain egg whites seasoned with salt and pepper. There’s no way that was healthy, physically or mentally.

Aside from pushing me to eat real food for the first time in over a decade, the Whole 30 also changed my diet in one very important way: it helped me discover that I have a gluten allergy. I KNOW. I waited this long to drop that bomb because I knew you’d all stop reading if I revealed it earlier!

Like all detoxes, part of the idea behind the Whole 30 is that it’s designed to help you figure out if you have any food sensitivities. Since you’re cutting so many things out of your diet, you’re supposed to add those food groups back in one by one to see how your body reacts. When I started eating bread again, I felt a familiar heaviness in my gut I hadn’t felt at all while on the Whole 30. Anytime I ate gluten or drank beer, I got a headache and my sinuses acted up. Eventually it hit me that I’m my own worst nightmare: a Brooklyn cliché with a sensitivity to gluten.

Was I horrified? Of course. Do I miss gluten? Yes, but since it’s been years since I’ve consumed it, I’ve found substitutes for most things. The one thing that’s completely irreplaceable is bread. Most supermarkets sell decent gluten-free sandwich bread, but a good gluten-free sourdough boule? Keep dreaming, honey! Still, every time I’m tempted by a piece of cheesy focaccia, I look at it and think about how I’d feel after eating it, and it’s never worth it.

Anyway, I’m not saying you should do the Whole 30. As someone who spent almost a decade with what I now recognize as an eating disorder but at the time called being on a diet, I think you should stay as far away as possible from anything that could even be classified as a diet. But you should realize that real, unprocessed food is good for you, that weird synthetic diet foods made of chemicals are not, and that you probably have a gluten allergy — sorry!

Even if you don’t want to admit food is good for you, make a smoothie sometime. You may not crave one for breakfast every morning the way I do, but you’ll probably like it! I made a kale smoothie for my dad once and even he said it tasted good and he buys fat-free half and half (which, by the way, is basically just corn syrup).

As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares about what I have for fucking breakfast. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, food or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!

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